pa·​nache | \ pə-ˈnash How to pronounce panache (audio) , -ˈnäsh How to pronounce panache (audio) \

Definition of panache

1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.
2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor— Joe Morgenstern

Illustration of panache

Illustration of panache

panache 1

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Did You Know?

Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.

Examples of panache in a Sentence

She played the role of hostess with great panache.

Recent Examples on the Web

On draft night, accessories are key—lucky charms, emblems of allegiances, personal statements of panache. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Evolution of N.B.A.-Draft Fashion," 26 June 2019 Michael Jordan had abruptly retired prior to the 1993-94 season, TV ratings were flat for a two-year period, and NBA’s most popular teams lacked any panache or star power. Matt Giles, Longreads, "How the Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies Revived the NBA," 8 June 2019 Sky and sea share the spotlight with panache in the unusually liquid paintings, augmented by Photoshop, which Jillian Tamaki has created for THEY SAY BLUE (Abrams, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8). Bruce Handy, New York Times, "If Graphic Novels Are Hip for Adults, Why Not Picture Books?," 6 Apr. 2018 William Shawcross covers the Queen Mother’s 101 years with panache. WSJ, "Five Best: Robert Hardman on the Making of the Modern Monarchy," 25 Jan. 2019 The stars, playing their own instruments with panache, include guitarist Zach (Vincent Molden), drummer Freddy (Gilberto Moretti-Hamilton), bassist Katie (Theodora Silverman) and keyboardist Lawrence (Theo Mitchell-Penner). David L. Coddon,, "'School of Rock' strikes all the right chords in San Diego debut," 14 June 2018 Swearing with panache has always been associated, in my mind at least, with a willingness to take risks, and not just linguistic ones. Gully Wells, Town & Country, "Elegant Expletives: A Socialite's Guide to the F-Bomb," 7 Aug. 2014 The job of a great hotel is to spoil and entertain, and the exhibition also does that with panache and a wink. Oscar Humphries, Vogue, "The Glamorous Objets of the Old Ritz Paris, Now on View (and Soon For Sale)," 13 Apr. 2018 Duchovny actually demonstrates some literary panache. Ron Charles,, "As a novelist, David Duchovny is no Sean Penn," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of panache

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for panache

Middle French pennache, from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing — more at pinnacle

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Statistics for panache

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for panache

The first known use of panache was in 1553

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English Language Learners Definition of panache

: lots of energy and style

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